Wednesday 23rd January 2013


Harris's old Range Rover is in its element in the, er, elements

I’d like to think that somewhere inside the shed the Rangie was jiggling about like an excited Spaniel the moment the Met Office correctly forecast the arrival of snow.

Mileage seems no bother for the big V8
Mileage seems no bother for the big V8
It was last started in mid December, but after a quick battery charge the V8 coughed into life with little effort and idled like it was brand new. Are all 3.9 V8s of this era as healthy after 153,000 miles? I just can’t quite believe how smooth and responsive it is and how fresh it feels after extended periods of slumber. One day I must get it serviced. I think it had an oil change in 2010, but can’t be sure.

The exhaust has now completely separated from behind the centre box, and even though the demi-NASCAR grumble is lovely and I enjoy setting-off car alarms, a new back section was needed, so I searched the web and ended up using Rimmer Bros, mainly because of the Red Dwarf reference.

Instead of ordering it online, I thought I’d use the telephone, and wouldn’t you know it a very helpful chap confirmed what I needed and charged me £127.50. This is a vast investment in the Rangie by previous standards, so it had better be good. For the moment, the old one still hangs from its mountings.

Rangie unstoppable despite budget Forecums
Rangie unstoppable despite budget Forecums
In the snow, on its budget Forecum rubber, the thing is unstoppable – not just because it has grip to spare, but because its general tattiness and designated role as forest track nail mean one doesn’t mind glancing off the odd wall. Yesterday I reverse pushed a courier van up a hill by shoving the tow-hitch into the van’s metal bumper protector. It didn’t even wheelspin.

The problem I have with the Rangie is that it would appear that it might be increasing in value. This was never the intention. I wanted an old Defender when I bought it in summer 2009, but they were so pricey I though an old one of these would be nearly as useful and much better value. It hasn’t really corroded much over the past two years, and it would take a few quid to make it a ‘nice’ car, but as I bashed it down the side of a large, malevolent Hawthorn bush yesterday, I did wonder if I might need to retire it from such duties and begin a restoration process. But I just know that the moment I become precious over it, the motor will go pop and the bodywork will spontaneously combust.

The twin Kenlowe fans that a previous owner fitted will need sorting for the summer, but right now the motor is barely warm sitting in traffic.

I love the fact that the snotty old Rangie whose cost to me I now forget is currently the most popular car in the household. We squabble over the keys in the morning.

Range Rover Vogue SE V8
Run by: Chris Harris
On fleet since: September 2009
Mileage: 153,000
Purchase price: £1,800 (I think)
Last month at a glance: Removed from hibernation. Now full-time family wheels in the snow. £127 on new rear exhaust section.

Previous reports:
PH Fleet: the Harris collection

Author: Chris Harris
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